11 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more I called them,
the further they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and they burned incense to idols.
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up in my arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them
with bands of human kindness,
with cords of love.
I treated them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks;
I bent down to them and fed them.
5 They will return to the land of Egypt,
and Assyria will be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword will strike wildly in their cities;
it will consume the bars of their gates
and will take everything because of their schemes.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me;
and though they cry out to the Most High,
he will not raise them up.
8 How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart winces within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
Israel’s and Judah’s responses
9 I won’t act on the heat of my anger;
I won’t return to destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a human being,
the holy one in your midst;
I won’t come in harsh judgment.
10 They will walk after the Lord,
who roars like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like a bird,
and like a dove from the land of Assyria;
and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.